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I Left Dubai and My Mercedes at the Airport to Avoid Going to Jail for Debt. – Christopher


“Dear Steve,

I guess my situation is nothing new. I got caught up in the economic meltdown. I was in Dubai for 2.5 years and had a very good job. As my job went out of business I got fired. I had several credit cards and a large personal loan. I did not intend on stealing anything from anyone. This is bothering me very bad everyday. I had to leave the country or go and sit in the jail until the debt was paid. Living 15 hours on the other side of the world from my country there is no one that would help me with the amount that I owed. I also left a new Mercedes at the airport. Now I am worried that they will come here to my country and take me back to the jail. I still have not found work yet. I also heard I could file bankruptcy.

Last how can I find out f a travel ban is on me and how long does it take to put one out? If I went to Saudi Arabia or another Gulf state could they find me and arrest me and take me back to Dubai?

Can I file for bankruptcy and get things delayed until I find a job even if I am in my country?



Dear Christopher,

Sadly your situation is not unusual. People reading this would be very surprised to read that in this day and age there are still places in the world where you can be taken to jail for a debt problems and left to rot in there for a long time. It just so happens that the UAE and Dubai is one such place.

Now, faced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.

Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai’s international airport in recent months. Most of the cars – four-wheel drives, saloons and “a few” Mercedes – had keys left in the ignition. Source

I seriously doubt that anyone is going to extradite you from your country and haul your ass back to jail in Dubai. I have never heard of that happening.

READ  Do I Need to Worry About Being Arrested When I Enter Dubai Because of My Old Debt?

As far as travel into other GCC countries in the region, that would be a problem. If an arrest warrant has been issued for you then it is possible you could be picked up at the border of any GCC country.

Unfortunately bankruptcy really isn’t an option for you since there is no personal bankruptcy in Dubai and no other country has jurisdiction over your debts in Dubai.

If you want to check what your legal status is in the UAE, then you should contact a lawyer in Dubai for assistance.

Owing debt in Dubai and not being able to pay it is a problem without a solution, even in this modern age.

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield. Source

As for the fact that you left your Mercedes at the airport, it appears that long term parking at Dubai International Airport is full of similar such cars left by people fleeing the country to avoid the punishment of job loss and not being able to make the minimum payments on debt.



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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Hi I have left some debt in Dubai, now a company called Oriel are trying to get me to pay the debt back, they say the insurance I had is useless is this true

  • Joe,

    Banks in UAE can only send your accounts to various collection agencies. No interpol will chase you. If you plan to run away, do so before you defaulted. The moment you default, banks immediately call the police to make a blacklist at checkpoint.

    Do not go to any GCC countries as they can deport you back to UAE. Interpol only entertains “fruad” cases in the amount of millions…

  • Hi Steve

    I am in a similar situation to the others who have defaulted on debt in the UAE. I made a very sincere proposal to repay my bank, IN FULL, but was turned down as it didn’t fall under bank policy, since no guarantor is available to underwrite my debt to them. I have a new job in mainland China that I want to take that will involve travel from there to Hong Kong and European countries. What risk do I run that the UAE could extradite me from those countries before I pay off my creditors, which I plan to do over the next few years? I understand that the UAE is one of the world’s highest volume issuers of “Red Notices” via Interpol which calls for the detention and extradition of those convicted of “fraud” (ie bounced cheques or defaulted bank loans) in the UAE.

    Please let me know the latest on this as soon as you can as I intend to leave for China in a week.


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